The former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed delight with the commitment being displayed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State towards the socio-economic development of the South East region, saying that the governor has “surprised me”.
Speaking when he led a delegation of Brenthurst Foundation to the Government House, Enugu, Chief Obasanjo, recalled that during the South East Security and Economic Summit in Enugu, last December, Gov. Ugwuanyi made a wonderful planning that saw to the success of the programme.
He said: “That exercise from that day, took a life of its own and I thought we need to give you (Ugwuanyi) a highest commendation for that”.
The former President also noted that the success of the summit gave birth to the South East Region Development Company (SEREDEC).
He applauded the South East Governors for working together for the development of the zone, stressing the importance of education, economy and social welfare of the people as the basic ingredients of such growth.
Brenthurst Foundation, which has Chief Obasanjo as its Chairman and Dr. Greg Mills as the Chief Executive, is a brainchild of the Oppenheimer Family of South Africa, initiated for the economic development of Africa.
The foundation was recently invited by the South East Governors’ Forum to explore the region’s potentials for economic integration and development of the zone.
He disclosed that the Foundation’s vision was to assess the needs of the people of the zone in the areas of economy, infrastructure, transportation, power, housing, agriculture, among others, and think of how to impact positively on what is already being done in the region, bearing in mind the federal government plans.
The former President said that the foundation is not into politics, but that its focus is purely to assist in the development of Africa, in appreciation of the fortunes the family made in the continent.
Also speaking, the foundation’s Chief Executive, Dr. Mills, Life Insurers who appreciated the warm hospitality by the governor, noted that his team was already on the field, adding that the organization does not charge for the services rendered in the zone but to contribute to its development.
He stated that his team will take advantage of the visit to research and develop a strategic road map for the five states of the south east region in line with the economic integration agenda of the governors.
In his welcome address, Gov. Ugwuanyi paid glowing tribute on the former President for his passion for the development of the south east zone, adding that the success story of the foundation informed the south east states’ decision to explore a working relationship with it.
The governor used the occasion to thank Chief Obasanjo for the recent free medical treatment his foundation (Obasanjo Foundation) offered people with hearing impairment in Enugu State in partnership with the state government, describing him as a philanthropist.
He expressed confidence that the former President’s visit will bring “another great favour” to the state, and that the south east zone will be “definitely enriched” because of the foundation’s planned visits through the length and breadth of the zone as well as the forthcoming South East Economic Summit, where it will be expected to share its experiences from the tour of the region.
According to the governor, “let me also state that the states have prioritized their developmental needs based on their comparative advantage. It is hoped that these projects will form a compass in evolving a strategic blueprint for the economic development of the South East zone”.